OPEC may hike oil output if price hits $110

Reuters, Sunday 9 Jan 2011

OPEC may raise production if oil prices reach $110 per barrel, Kuwaiti officials say

Photo: Reuters

Speculation could push oil prices to rise to $110 per barrel within a few weeks, which may prompt OPEC (the Organisation of Oil Exporting Countries) to raise production, a member of Kuwait's Supreme Petroleum Council (SPC) said Sunday.

"Demand will increase slightly, but this increase in price is usually technical, due to analysts' forecasts and speculations," Imad Al-Atiqi, a member of the country's highest oil policy body, told Reuters in a telephone interview.

"This [increase] could be a reason to increase production so the oil market does not get worried ... especially if the rise was quick and crossed the $110 [mark]," he said.

However, OPEC members are unlikely to meet before their scheduled gathering in June if prices reach $100 a barrel, Atiqi said, adding that the global economy could afford a $100 per barrel oil price, and that it would not hurt recovery from the international economic slowdown.

"It wouldn't because this is co-ordinated with other strategic commodities like gold, metals, food and basic materials," he said.

Last week Kuwaiti Oil Minister Sheikh Ahmad Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah said he did not expect OPEC to meet before June unless "something dramatic" happens, and did not expect an increase in output in the first half of 2011.

Atiqi said for the time being there was ample supplies of crude oil in the market.

On Friday, the ICE Brent crude price for February fell $1.19 to $93.33 a barrel, trading from $92.59 to $94.58. Last month the price spiked to $94.74 a barrel, its highest level since October 2008.

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